The Minister of Finance, Budget and National planning, Zainab Ahmed, has distanced herself from plans by the Central Bank of Nigeria to redesign some of Naira notes.
Recall that on Wednesday, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced that the bank will be redesigning the N200, N500 and N1000 denominations and that the new notes will be launched on December 15, 2022. He also mentioned that the old notes will seize to be used as a legal tender from January 31, 2023. Emefiele said the action was taken in order to take control of the currency in circulation just as he posited that the bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside bank vaults and that the CBN would not allow the situation to continue.
However, Ms. Zainab Ahmed has distanced the Federal government from the plan. Vanguard reports that while speaking during the 2023 budget defence at the Nigerian Senate today October 28, Ahmed said if the redesigning is implemented, it would portend great consequences for the nation and its economy.
During the interactive session with the lawmakers, Senator Bamidele had in his question told the Finance Minister that barely two days after the announcement of the policy by CBN , repercussion of it on the value of Naira to US dollar was being felt.
”Just two days after announcement of the policy , value of Naira to a US dollar has risen from N740 to N788 to a US dollar due to rush in exchange of starched Naira Notes for foreign currencies , particularly dollar.
To me , the policy may be a well conceived one , but the timing going by realities on ground , is very wrong as the Naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023 fixed for full implementation of the policy.”
While answering the question, the Minister said she is not aware of the policy but only heard of it from the media.
”Distinguished senators , we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by CBN on the planned Naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise .
However as a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management , the policy as rolled out at this time , portends serious consequences on value of Naira to other foreign currencies.
I will however appeal to this committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now.”she was quoted as saying.